Big Face (Interview + 8 Tracks Album Taster)!
For a band that started with 1 member hopping from a style to another trying to find that so called 'Right Sound' & with many members joining in and leaving in less than a year, you'd think this band is doomed or it's just not good enough to make it… but in their case it seemed like everything wrong has led this five piece into the right path! I sat down with 'Marvin' the founder & headmaster of the electro-indie-rock band 'Big Face' & had a little chit-chat!
Marv (Marvin) started 'Big Face' in August 2005 as a Techno/Electronic project "I chose that name because I thought it was silly… the last thing I wanted was to be taken seriously!" but at that point his music made a clear statement that it wasn't the style he is supposed to embrace "It Wasn't very good, like getting hit in the head with a bag of nails!"… Pretty soon he decided to drive on another course "Yeah, I got bored of making loop based material. I wanted to make songs rather than tunes. I grew up listening to punk bands like (Big Black, The Jesus Lizard, Swervedriver, Fugazi, Shellac) rather than electronic artists; so making songs that represented techno/house & electronica in more of a traditional style (verse, chorus… etc) was the correct step for me." Even with the new indie base, one can tell that the people behind 'Big Face' have had a massive techno/electro influence though their life "Well after being leaving my first band which was more punk based I met some new people at a party whom introduced me to the electronic side of things. For a few years I listened to all kinds of techno/electro like (Depeche Mode, Felix Da Housecat, Tube Jerk, Matthew Herbert… etc) before deciding to try and make music with my new influences..." Still a lot of people think that 'Big Face' is a one man band, because their music could've been achieved by one or 2 persons spending a lot of time in the studio "I have seen loads of DJs and laptop musicians over the years; some of them big names some of them just friends. I just didn't find any real excitement in it. Although I understood the music, I always thought seeing a band is the way to watch live music..." but the perception of 'Live Shows' have changed in a way, in the past few years. These days 'Live Show' could mean 1 or 2 persons behind a laptop & some visual effects, who don't even have to look at the audience, & people accept that "It Totally depends on the environment. That kind of thing generally happens in clubs with everyone dancing… so most folk will not really care. On a Wednesday night down the local Pub it's a totally different story, with most new acts playing around bars there is more of a need to give your audience the band vibe... like Hot Chip" & that's why Marv was determined to turn 'Big Face' into a five piece band, but it wasn't really easy finding the right guys "Yeah that was a real struggle… our first show was in November 2006 it's now February 2008... I have had 1 guitarist, 1 keyboardist & 1 drummer all join and leave in that time… which is hell of a lot of folk to come and go in a band over a year. So we have only managed maybe 15 gigs in the past year and a bit. Just getting your friends in isn't the way to go. In the end I found people through friends and now have a solid band. Woohoo!!" that solid band is "Marvin (Vocals, Keyboard, Guitar, & Programming) I previously was a member of the local band 'Fighting Red Adair' - Chet (Bass, Backing Vocal) - Crag (Guitar, Backing Vocal) - D.Reekie (Keyboard) - & D.Miller (Drums) who was previously a member of the local band 'Ming Ming & The Ching Chings'." Marv also does the songwriting "Im not much of a poet or even fancy myself as a lyricist... I just try to make it sound cool. A message in a song doesn't mean a whole lot to me. I don't listen to music and think: they must be talking about this or that…".
Their first single 'I Wanna Be A Style Crusader' is as layered & multi flavored as a cheesecake slice, starts with a laidback nippy bassline, uncluttered claps, miniature cowbell taps & couple video game ping pong pongs carrying on till mid of the tune where ticklish 8-bit bleeps take on a whirly head-spinning solo tricking you into thinking it's the highest point before it accelerates into a stronger raunchy figure with ominous guitars & elements mentioned before, saving the best taste bud tang for the encore… & it makes sense why 'Kitsuné' decided to pick up the hipsters anthem for a Nov. 2007 release "Hipster no... I like things considered hip, but I'm not really interested in the main connotation of what it is to be considered hip. I have been aware of Kitsuné for years and liked what they where doing. I'm not entirely sure how they came across the track as I haven't asked, but the world is a smaller place for bands and artists now with the internet generally being the first port of call when investigating a band." The release was backed up with 2 remixes by 'David E Sugar' & 'DatA' "I chose an artist to remix it and they chose one also. I think I prefer the DatA mix becuase it's a different world from the original…" The next single will be out around March 2008 & it will be "My Eyeball I reckon, with the proper mix..." 'My Eyeball' is also featured on the latest compilation for the highly reputed club BOOMBOX which is released through Kitsuné as well "Yeah played there twice now over the past year. They are nice folks who seem to understand the music I make. I think we probably have lots in common but living in Glasgow I wasn't aware of the club until they asked us to come and play. It was good fun though, on both occasions." But Marvin wasn't really happy with the version he handed for the release "I made the demo at home and posted it on the net. A few days later I received an email from Richard at BOOMBOX asking if I would like to have the demo on the club mix. Schedules where a bit tight and I had to take the track to the studio to properly put it together and ended up running out of time before it had to be submitted... So I handed the track over when I wasn't quite happy about the mix…"
After listening to their music your brain immediately connects it to the French electronic scene, but they are from Scotland & to be honest I've never heard of any good Scottish electro rock bands before them "Not really, I do like French artists but as a scene, not really! - Scotland, especially Glasgow has huge night life. You can hear almost whatever you want any night of the week in Glasgow... but as far as electronic bands and a scene, there isn't one that I know of, Of course there are other bands... there is just no scene to join or be part of… there aren't many club orientated bands." Talking about their upcoming (set for late 08 release) album... with a CD of 8 tracks been playing constantly in my lair, I can tell this is going to be one of the great albums of 2008 once it's properly finished & released… listening to it I noticed that on almost all songs the bit after the middle triggers a combination of sharp bleepy electronic sounds that forms somehow like a breakdown (if I may say) & the whole atmosphere of the music is very dark & ominous "Most dance music builds before it all comes banging in. I just built indie dance tracks with that in mind, so as to have parts that just build then eventually come in with a 4 to the floor beat, simple! And I didn't sit and say lets make this dark... It just came about naturally.
Some tracks just work better when more sinister. Sinister is always good…!" Another side people will be surprised of & love is the cinematic down-tempo delicate ballads like 'Jack Passion' (My Favorite) which is a reminiscent to AIR drowsy, drunk ambient & electronic lo-fi affair… it really shows more versatility power "When I first started making songs electronically it was with 'Reason'. The songs basic melody and structure had been sitting around for a few years before it was revisited and turned into what it now is... you need diversity!! Didn't just want to make up-beat tracks all the time...".
Out of curiosity I asked him if there's any new artists that pulled his attention recently "Recently watched the new 'Late Of Pier' video on Mtv2. I liked it, its an interesting song... also been listening to 'Those Dancing Days' an all girl group from Sweden or Switzerland, cant quite remember..." Big Face's remixology consists of "Remixes for Shit Disco - 'Kung Fu' & 'Reactor Party' and one for kylie Minogue... think I'm getting another one in over the next few days from 'Yoav' island records new signing." & the bands concept of a fun day is "Basically, set fires and rob children…" Finally a sneek peek at the 'Big Face' itinerary "Make the record, I start next week… redo all the tracks/demos even 'Style Crusader' & got a few more tracks to work on. At this point I'm happy with the material for the full length…".
Ladies & Gentlemen there you have it, a short text documentary of one of the must watch out for bands this year… & for your auditory pleasure you can download an 8 track album teaser in 320Kbps VBR, ripped by me directly from the CD Marvin threw at me.
1. I Wanna Be A Style Cruader
2. Ride The Front Seat
3. My Eyeball
4. My Body Moves Faster
5. I Run With Life
6. Away She Blows
7. Drink Juice Like
8. Jack Passion
DL: Big Face - 8 Tracks Of Pleasure in a Zip File
Bonus: My Eyeball (Big Face BOOMBOX Mix)